Red Lentil Dip

Red Lentil Dip
Think outside the hummus box and purée cooked lentils into this smoky, satisfying dip. (Jennifer McGruther)

Serve this smoky, spicy red lentil dip with plenty of cut-up vegetables for a delicious summertime appetizer. Add crusty sourdough bread and a bowl of briny olives, and you'll have a nice centerpiece for a light lunch.

Serves 6 as an appetizer
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, or similar chile paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve
Dump the lentils into a medium saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then turn the heat down to medium. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils turn tender and begin to lose their form. Strain, and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the lentils to a food processor, and add the olive oil, garlic, sambal oelek, paprika, salt, and lemon juice. Process until smooth, adjust seasoning with more salt, chile paste, and/or lemon juice as needed. Serve at room temperature, garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

Jennifer McGruther, NTP, is a nutritional therapy practitioner, herbalist, and the author of three cookbooks, including “Vibrant Botanicals.” She’s also the creator of, a website that celebrates traditional foodways, herbal remedies, and fermentation. She teaches workshops on natural foods and herbalism, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.